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ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

SIEGEL: Our series Vocal Impressions is a challenge to listeners to describe famous voices. This time around you were asked to find words to describe Rodney Dangerfield, Paul Robeson, Samuel L. Jackson and Cass Elliot.

Brian McConnachie has the results.

BRIAN McCONNACHIE: And we'll begin with Rodney Dangerfield.

(Soundbite of Rodney Dangerfield's performance)

Mr. RODNEY DANGERFIELD (Comedian): Well, just last week, a guy pulled a knife on me. I could see it was a real professional job. There was butter on it.

(Soundbite of laughter)

McCONNACHIE: T.C. Jones(ph) describes his voice as a drunk walrus on a trampoline. Listening to Rodney Dangerfield always reminds me of an itchy shirt I wear and can't bear to part with, says Nadia Confessi(ph).

Mr. DANGERFIELD: Last week I looked up my family tree, I found out I'm the sap.

McCONNACHIE: Julianne Price(ph) says he sounds like hot, buttered marbles. And my particular favorite is from Don Andrews(ph) who says, Rodney Dangerfield sounds like rock trying to explain to scissors why paper wins.

(Soundbite of song "I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night")

Mr. PAUL ROBESON (Singer): (Singing) I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night, alive as you and me.

McCONNACHIE: Next, Paul Robeson.

(Soundbite of song "I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night")

Mr. ROBESON: (Singing) Says I, but Joe, you're 10 years dead. I never died, says he.

McCONNACHIE: Annessa Olsen(ph) says his voice is the morning fog in the redwood forest. Sarah Myers(ph) describes Paul Robeson's voice as blood running away from your heart. And Edward Sacha(ph) adds, Paul Robeson's voice is like rolling thunder sweeping away everything it encounters.

(Soundbite of song "I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night")

Mr. ROBESON: (Singing) The copper bosses killed you, Joe. They shot you, Joe, says I.

(Soundbite of movie "Pulp Fiction)

Mr. SAMUEL L. JACKSON (Actor): (As Jules) We're not going to do anything stupid, are we? We're all going to be like three little Fonzies here. And what's Fonzie like? We're going to be cool.

McCONNACHIE: Then we had Samuel L. Jackson. Mocha Schafer(ph) says he sounds like Mr. Ed recast as a rottweiler.

(Soundbite of movie "Pulp Fiction)

Mr. JACKSON: (As Jules) Now, when you yell at me, it makes me nervous.

McCONNACHIE: Samuel L. Jackson conjures up the image of that last flint strike, the one that sets the house ablaze, says Nadia Confessi.

(Soundbite of movie "Pulp Fiction)

Mr. JACKSON: (As Jules) Normally both your asses would be dead as fried chicken.

McCONNACHIE: It's a voice that sounds like the subject of several Jim Croce songs, offers Kenneth Dardin(ph).

(Soundbite of movie "Pulp Fiction)

Mr. JACKSON: (As Jules) How are we doing, baby?

(Soundbite of song "Dream A Little Dream of Me")

Ms. MAMA CASS ELLIOT (Singer): (Singing) Just hold me tight and tell me you'll miss me.

McCONNACHIE: And lastly, Mama Cass Elliot.

(Soundbite of song "Dream A Little Dream of Me")

Ms. ELLIOT: (Singing) While I'm alone and blue as can be, dream a little dream of me.

McCONNACHIE: Jeff Hanson(ph) says, it's a big, old tangerine moon on the rise. Gwendolyn Hissley(ph) says, her voice is a fairy's pixie dust. Molly Reagan(ph) says, it's freshly glossed lips blowing sugary pink bubbles.

(Soundbite of song "Dream A Little Dream of Me")

Ms. ELLIOT: (Singing) Sweet dreams 'til sunbeams find you.

McCONNACHIE: Honey Garrett(ph) says Mama Cass sounds like September 10th, 2001. Julia Price says, it's a waterfall of tears. And Peter Newell(ph), coming from a far different place, says Cass Elliot's voice is the glow from the floor after it's been buffed to perfection with Mr. Clean's head.

Okay, our next batch of voices include Roy Orbison…

(Soundbite of song "Pretty Woman")

Mr. ROY ORBISON (Singer): (Singing) Pretty woman walking down the street. Pretty woman…

McCONNACHIE: …Willie Nelson…

(Sounbite of song "On The Road Again")

Mr. WILLIE NELSON (Singer): (Singing) On the road again.

McCONNACHIE: …Johnny Cash…

(Soundbite of song "I Keep A Close Watch On This Heart of Mine")

Mr. JOHNNY CASH (Singer): (Singing) I keep a close watch on this heart of mine. I keep my eyes wide open all the time. I keep…

McCONNACHIE: …and you know we'd eventually get around to it, Ethel Merman.

(Soundbite of song "Doin' What Comes Naturally")

Ms. ETHEL MERMAN (Singer): (Singing) Folks are dumb where I come from. They ain't had any learnin'. Still they're happy as can be doin' what comes naturally. Doin' what comes naturally.

SIEGEL: There you have it, your next assignment. Tell us what those voices conjure up in your mind by going to npr.org and search for the Vocal Impressions page. Brian McConnachie will bring us a report on your entries next month.

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